La Princesse légère (The Light Princess)

Premiere by the composer Violeta Cruz

A Question of Levity!

La Princesse légère (The Light Princess) is exactly that: light. Light in every sense of the word. Victim of a spell cast by an evil witch, she has no gravity: not only is she weightless and float in the air, but she experiences everything with an inflexible frivolity. In this unusual fairy tale, George MacDonald, mentor and friend to Lewis Carroll, plays with the real to better address essential issues: detachment and freedom, fear of falling, and of serious relationships. Using the light jesting of childhood, the text is a gentle and cutting criticism of society, mocking all the “know-it-alls” so imbued with their knowledge….

This reflection hidden behind playfulness is precisely what seduced the atypical, explosive duo of made up of the Colombian composer Violeta Cruz and the Belgium theater figure Jos Houben, as did the scenic possibilities suggested by the tale’s vertical dramaturgy. Is laughter real when we only know how to cry?

Technologies

Theatrical, dramatic, and musical texts are closely knit here, thanks largely to the famous “sound objects” so loved by Violeta Cruz. The story itself led the creators towards sets inspired by children’s wooden blocks, filled with turnstiles, a see-saw, a slide; all the equipment with which a child tests her own gravity, has fun sliding, falling, hanging weight and time…. Equipment that—imagined especially for the occasion and equipped with sensors (the latest generation of IRCAM sensors, R-IoT) that translate movement into digital data—is included in the musical discourse via electronics through a process of interaction among music and movement, sound synthesis, segmentation of syllables, and more. All of this gives these objects an authentic musical significance, not only choreographic. The large scale of these objects makes their manipulation by the singers a broader instrumental gesture, giving rise to imagined—or unexpected—musical and theatrical situations seen by the creators during workshops held in the spring of 2016. The musical materials are transformed by the dynamic of playing with each object, which in turn, enhances the performers’ improvisations.


Biographies

person

Violeta Cruz

Composer (b. 1986)
The Colombian composer Violet Cruz first studied music at Javeriana University in Colombia before going on to the Conservatoire national supérieur de musique et de danse de Paris. Her oeuvre includes instrumental and electroaco...

person

Jos Houben

Director
Jos Houben studied at the Ecole de théâtre et de mime Jacques Lecoq (Paris) with Philippe Gaulier, Monika Pagneux, and Pierre Byland. A founding member of Complicité, he performed and co-created A Minute Too Late, a work that shook up the theat...